Office Gaming Lunches

Race for the Galaxy I changed jobs late last year and was pleasantly surprised to discover that a number of the find computer geeks I work with are also card and board game nerds too. In a given week we seem to get through three to four games of varying pedigree over the lunch hour. Naturally we play a common games like Carcassonne and occasionally Magic, but also a bunch of games I’ve not been exposed to before.

A group favourite from Adam’s collection is Race for the Galaxy, which as the title suggests is a race to build the highest scoring galactic civilisation. Also like a typical race, there’s no interaction between the competitors. It does however have an interesting mechanic where players decide which phases of a turn occur in any given turn, so a canny player can sort of parasitically benefit from the other player’s choices. This is a card game you can finish in under an hour, even with four to five players and each game is varied enough that we’ve gone weeks just playing Race.

Andrew has dragged out Clans once, which I found to be an enjoyable game of diminishing resources and escalating scoring with a single core mechanic that sort of feels like crystals forming in a solution. Possibly it’s a little too simple though as we haven’t replayed in the three months I’ve worked so far, although I’d happily try it again. It plays quickly too so you can get a couple of games in over an hour.

Zombie Fluxx Zombie Fluxx is a card game that Adam bought in for comparison after I purchased a copy of Munchkin from Having played Zombie Fluxx over a lunchtime this week I have to say I wish I’d purchased it instead of Munchkin! It has the same kind of ‘beer and pretzels’ feel of Munchkin, plays in a similar fast and furious fashion, and has the same large element of luck but the Fluxx mechanic of playing cards to change the game rules (including the victory conditions) is just a little deeper and more interesting than Munchkin. Plus you know, it’s got a Zombie theme, which actually works quite well with the rather abstract game.

In closing I’m also surprised to find how relaxing a midday board game is. I work in IT as a software enginner, which while not a physically draining job, certainly can be a mentally tiring one. Board and card games are an intellectual exercise too of course, but they’re also social affairs. Something about a game over lunch keeps my mind sharp enough to head back into the code in the afternoon, but is sufficiently different to refresh me as well. Possibly it’s the invigorating smack talk that goes on during the games. If you have the means I’d seriously recommend getting a gaming group together at your office.

I’m also interested to hear any recommendations for interesting board or card games that can be played with three to five people in around an hour. Any suggestions dear visitors?

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Ancients: Final Carthaginian Spear

15mm Carthaginian Spear Continuing on with things I’m supposed to have finished last year here’s the last 15mm Corvus Belli Carthaginian Spear for my DBA force. This leaves me the final ‘General’ unit of Cavalry to paint before the close of January, which might actually achieve.

It’s hard to believe I picked these forces up over two years ago, but apparently that is the case. Once the Carthaginians are complete I’ll start on the Polybian Romans, then I’ll try to lure Aaron and other gaming buddies into a few more games of De Bellis Antiquitatis. I’m confident they’ll fall for it if I can offer up two painted 15mm Ancients armies to game with. Of course given my track record with the first army they’ll probably be safe until around early 2011! By which time my eldest son will be seven and a half, which might be a good age to start exposing him to war games like DBA, possibly in a slightly simplified kid friendly form?

15mm Carthaginian Spear At any rate the painted Carthaginians are looking quite nice ranked up on my garage shelves and I’m looking forward to posting some shots of the finished force. For the interim, here’s the three Spear bases ranked up. If you’re wondering about the simple flat colour shields, it’s because I am still considering purchasing some 15mm decals to apply to them for a little more ‘pop’.

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Ancients: Carthaginian Cavalry

Carthaginian Cavalry In order to get 2009 off to a good start hobby-wise I’m determined to finish my Carthaginian DBA force this month. Aaron made a joke at our first gaming night of 2009 and damn it he’s right that it has taken me a long time to paint twelve small stands of 15mm Ancients figures.

So last week I finished off this cavalry base which leaves me two bases more to go: the General’s cavalry base and a final base of Carthaginian Spear and then I can start on the Polybian Romans. That’s a total of ten 15mm figures left to paint.

All six figures on this cavalry base were painted separately. The horses first, which were then based and left until the painted riders were added. This turned out to be something of a mistake so I’ll glue the primed horses and riders together for the General’s cavalry stand before painting.

I really should try and convince Aaron to play some more DBA this year as well, because the handful of games we had last year were certainly interesting…

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2008 Annual Roundup

It’s time for another annual round up, and I have to say looking back it’s been an un-productive year here at Tabletop Terrain. My personal life had a lot of ups and downs in ’08 which made it hard to concentrate on anything, including hobby work. Frankly I’m glad the year is over and I’m looking forward to a more positive 2009.

January, February

The Hirst Arts Cathedral saw some good progress early in the year, but has stalled again as I’ve run out of Ultracal 30. In the new year I’m definitely going to visit TopMark in Auckland and grab a fresh pail.

March, April, May

February saw the start of a Flames of War three month painting challenge which I largely failed to complete. I painted a series of DAK Panzer turrets using an interesting weathering technique. To date I’ve only finished two of the Panzers that use these turrets, but as all the tanks have been based with dunkelgarb, I don’t believe my gaming buddies have noticed my laxness to date. I also sculpted an original little Flames of War objective for my DAK Germans, but haven’t got around to painting it yet.

I reviewed a couple of 28mm sci-fi products, Pig Iron Kolony heads and Hasslefree weapons that I intend to use for scratch building a Necromunda scavvie gang.

June, July, August

June and July were very quiet because it was the depth of winter and our whole family was fairly exhausted and often sick. However August I painted some 15mm Ancients, and knocked off a bunch of my Corvus Belli Carthaginians. This was an army I had intended to finish in 2008! I should certainly be able to knock them off early this year.

September, October, November, December

The release of Fallout 3 pretty much put paid to any hobby work at the end of the year as I played Fallout 3 for over a month straight each evening. All I achieved in these months was to start my Necromunda scavvie gang, which is based on a bunch of figures Daniel handed to me, and to finally build some 15mm flexible road strips for my North African Flames of War table.

Well that’s it. Goodness me, I really need to get stuck in this year. The recession means my hobby spending has also reduced, but like any hobbyist I have a large list of incomplete projects anyway. So 2009’s focus will be on finishing some of these – much like 2008’s was supposed to be! Anyway, hope you’ve all had a good Xmas and New Year! Roll on 2009.

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